Sachin Tendulkar said he was happy to have notched up his first hundred at the Adelaide Oval, one where he hadn't made much of an impact earlier. Returning to the city where he met Don Bradman in 1998, he brought up his sixth hundred in Australia and second of the series.
"I knew that Adelaide hasn't been a great ground for me," he said after his unbeaten hundred at the end of the first day. "In 1999 I scored 65 runs here and that was my best, so I was determined to get a big one here. It also happens to be Sir Don's home ground. I wasn't thinking about that while batting out there but am very pleased to have got a hundred at this venue."
Tendulkar admitted that this was one of his most complete innings, talking about how certain balls went exactly where he intended. "The first straight drive off [Brett] Lee gave me a lot of confidence," he said. "I middled it and the shot went exactly where I wanted it to go. In the next over I repeated it [against Mitchell Johnson]. So I took it from there.
"There are days when you are moving well, days when you're not. There are also days when you middle the ball and days when you don't. You need to wait for that moment. I've felt those moments off and on in my career. Any hundred is special but when the team really needs one, it means more. Today there were big shots in between and defensive ones too. It was important we [Laxman and him] just stayed there and played according to the merit of the ball. We needed to play out the good spells properly."
Tendulkar has received an overwhelming reception in Australia, entering to standing ovations and being cheered throughout. No other Indian batsman has been accorded such a warm applause. "It's truly special," he said, "and sometimes I need to look at the scoreboard to figure out whether I'm 100-plus or zero. It means a lot to me and would like to thank each and every person for treating me like this. It makes every trip of mine very special."
Like in the first two Tests, Tendulkar was particularly severe on Brad Hogg but denied having "targeted" him for punishment. "Any bowler can get you out, you don't want to take anyone for granted," he said. "It all depends on the flow of my innings. If I pick the ball early enough, I will put it away. There were patches when he bowled well and patches when I felt I could put the ball away. Whenever I got the opportunity I made it count. That was my strategy."
Tendulkar went from 86 to 100 in a sequence that read 4,2,6,2, smashing the part-time spin of Michael Clarke. "I thought the wind was behind me and wanted to use it," he said. "I knew if I middled the ball, it would clear the field. Even if I don't middle it the wind would work.
"I was very positive at that stage and if the ball was there to put away, I was prepared to do that again," he said off the six that took him to 98. "When I played that off-drive [to get to 100], I played inside out, though it was not a half-volley. I had that chance to force the ball. I got the time to force it a little bit."
He was pleased to have weathered the old-ball burst from Lee - "he has been their stand-out bowler" - and thought India would need to bat as long as possible to increase their chances of leveling the series. "I think to put up a big total in the first innings would be the key. Later on I think the wicket might have some big cracks. Ideally we would like to score as many runs tomorrow. The first session will be very important."